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Patient Handout: Evidence Suggests Chiropractic Can Help Scoliosis

Introduction to Evidence Based Decision Making: Effective Chiropractic Care for Scoliosis

This information will help you understand your choices, making you a more informed patient on the benefits of chiropractic care.  It is our mission to provide you with the most reliable and trustworthy source of Chiropractic Health Information.




Key Points in your Decision about choosing Chiropractic Care?

Chiropractic is a non-invasive, drug-free, results-oriented form of treatment that exposes the patient to less risk than medical approaches that traditionally favor medications and surgery.




ü       Does your condition have a proper diagnosis?

ü       Does your condition have no known cause or cure?

ü       Is your condition acute or chronic?

ü       Does your condition adversely affect your functional status?

ü       Have you been taking medications for your conditions?

ü       Does your medications have any side effects?

ü       Is surgery an option?

ü       Have you ever tried any form of Complementary or Alternative Medicine in the relief of your symptoms?

These are important questions in which a Chiropractor is fully trained to help you answer.   Chiropractors are trained in the diagnosis and treatment of disease with particular emphasis on neuromusculoskeletal conditions.  If necessary, Chiropractors will refer out for most appropriate tests or referral to medical specialist in order for you to receive the best care possible.




When deciding about chiropractic care, consider the following:

q       Emphasis on patient recuperative abilities rather than drugs or surgery

q       The structure and condition of the body influences how the body functions and its ability to heal itself

q       The mind-body relationship is instrumental in maintaining health and in the healing processes.

q       Recognition that dynamics exist between lifestyle, environment and health

q       Recognition of the centrality of the nervous system and its intimate relationship with the capacities of the human body

q       Balancing benefits versus risks of clinical interventions

q       Recognition of the primary importance of monitoring progress closely through appropriate diagnostic procedures

q       A patient-centered, hands-on approach focused on influencing function through structure




Is Chiropractic Care Effective Treatment for Scoliosis?

Chiropractic care may be an effective treatment option for scoliosis, an abnormal curvature of the spine characterized by a rotational side-to-side deviation from the normal frontal axis which develops among 3-5 of every 1000 children in the U.S., usually in adolescence.1

In the past, only several well-conducted case studies suggested the effectiveness of chiropractics in managing scoliotic curves.   However, more recently, Charles A. Lantz, D.C., PhD, Director of Research at Life Chiropractic College and his colleagues conducted a scoliosis research project to explore the effectiveness of chiropractics in the management of children ages 9-15 with mild to moderate scoliosis (less than 20 degrees curvature), thus being the first large-scale clinical trial ever to examine the effect of chiropractics on scoliosis.   In this cohort study, the subjects, having completed a 1-year course of care (including spinal adjustments, muscle work, and heel lifts all with X-ray analysis), underwent follow-up X-rays.   Results indicated an average reduction of 2.6 degrees in the curvature of the subjects’ spines, prompting Dr. Lantz to conclude, “Chiropractic appears to offer a distinct advantage in the management and monitoring of early stage scoliosis.”2

What is the Chiropractic Treatment protocol for Scoliosis?

Chiropractic management of scoliosis has classically consisted of spinal adjustments or manipulation to increase movement and biomechanical function sometimes augmented with exercise and postural counseling, as well as heel lifts.   Electrical stimulation has recently come into the chiropractic armamentarium as well.3 However, if the curvature continues to progress in the face of the aforementioned therapy, the chiropractor should refer to surgery.




Personal Comments for better decision-making:

Use the following space to list any other important questions or concerns you may have about treating Scoliosis with Chiropractic Care.

Evidence Based Decision Making

After reading this article, you should have a better idea of how you feel about using Chiropractic Treatment for Scoliosis.  Informed patients make better health decisions.











  1. Journal of the ACA, "Focus: Grading on the Curve - What We Know about Scoliosis", Feb 2002, pp.9-16

  2. Dynamic Chiropractic, Jan 27, 1997, Vol. 15, Issue 03

  3. Mawhinney R.   Scoliosis: Correction Without Braces or Surgery. Roberts Publishing Company, Madison, Wisconsin, 1998.




Authors:                Joseph A. Rotella BS, DC, MD

 Michael R. Scoma BS, MD

Moller Back Support Pro

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Posted On 2/1/2006